We don’t know when a COVID-19 vaccine will arrive, but we’re starting to know how it will be distributed.
Interviews with logistics experts, immunization professionals and pharmaceutical distribution specialists, together with recent U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention planning documents, give a clearer picture of how coronavirus vaccines will get from manufacturers into the arms of millions of Americans.
The swift and so far positive effort to create vaccines to fight COVID-19 has been remarkable but it’s only half of the work, said Tinglong Dai, a professor of operations management who studies health care analytics at the Johns Hopkins University.
“It’s just incredible. I think the vaccine supply chain is one of the most mind-bogglingly complex supply chains ever built,” he said.
The process will be run by the CDC, which for decades has overseen vaccine distribution in the United States and ran the last national vaccination effort during the 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic.
“We’re happy to see CDC front and center,” said Dr. Kelly Moore, associate director of immunization education with the Immunization Action Coalition. “They’re the right organization to be leading this.”
All the vaccine supplied in the initial phases will be purchased by the U.S. government and no one will be charged for the actual dose. As of early September, it wasn’t clear if clinics would be allowed to charge an administration fee to those getting their shots. If one was charged, it’s not clear whether insurance could be reimbursed for it if the vaccine is issued under an Emergency Use Authorization, CDC documents say…Read more>>